The Experts in Animal Health

On a recent visit to suppliers of animal health products, which had significant store front, I had the opportunity to interact with both the suppliers and some of their clients. I posed a question to both, regarding control of the purchasing decisions.

It was very clear that even though a massive evolution has been and is actively taking place, at least on the cattle side of things one factor remained the number one controlling factor!

Some older clients remembered the days of store credit. Well, credit cards have now replaced that to a major degree. Pricing was obviously expected to be a key decision factor, but most clients felt that due to web-based transparency it is easy to ensure/check parity these days. Reliable information on product choice is becoming a bit more difficult due to oversupply of choice and information, especially via social media. Ease of ordering online has removed some of the time spent in the store, but all clients agreed they still regularly spoke to the folks at the supplier.

I was surprised to see several of the regional suppliers actively in expansion mode, either adding people or floor space. A second observation was that several organizations were truly transforming into family businesses, where the next generation was becoming more actively involved in management and interacting with the client base.

So, what was the number one consideration for suppliers, to ensure that clients would remain loyal; and what was the number one client pre-requisite for motivating them to remain a loyal client?

Both were 100% aligned – simply: TRUST!

It should really not have come as any surprise, as the decision of many folks on how and where they buy their food has shifted to people or organizations they trust; and they are building long term relationships. So, why not animal health supplies? This was not new, just confirmed.

As suppliers or manufacturers, what are you doing to build and/or ensure trust with your client?

Lourens Havenga

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